The Bribery Scandal

There is no need to reach for the smelling salts, QPR were the innocent party in the whole affair. During the years 1962 and 1963, a group of Football League players and their associates formed a crooked gambling syndicate with the objective of pulling off betting scams on the football results fixed odds. The famous names that hit the headlines were Tony Kay, Peter Swan and David ‘Bronco’ Layne, all of Sheffield Wednesday but there were others who also featured including Jimmy Gauld of Mansfield (a ringleader) and a certain Richard Scott Beattie of Peterborough United. The plan was for the players in question by means of their non-performance out on the pitch to ensure that the opposition were the victors thereby pulling off the coup with the consequence of cash winnings and pay-outs all round. Richard Scott Beattie is where we come into the picture.

On the 8th September 1962, Peterborough United had a home fixture against QPR in the old Division Three of the Football League. It was Beattie’s task to make certain that this was to be an away win (lucky us) and as a goalkeeper you would have thought that this would have been easy to achieve without making matters obvious. However, this was not quite how events turned out as the subsequent expose in the ‘Sunday People’ did testify. According to the newspaper article which contained Beattie’s ‘confession’, the situation nearly went ‘pear shaped’.

Peterborough were dominating the game, leading 1-0 and much to Beattie’s chagrin, it was getting near to full-time. Shot shy Rangers still couldn’t muster even a half decent attempt on target ! Drastic measures were required so twice when the opportunity arose, he deliberately threw the ball out to R’s winger John McClellend and there followed two goals in quick succession. The first by Johnny Mac himself and then a ‘lay-off’ for Brian Bedford for number two. Phew, mission
accomplished, Peterborough 1 – QPR 2 ! There was obvious joy from the R’s contingent but heaven knows what the other Peterborough players thought of it all.


The aftermath of the newspaper investigation and the subsequent criminal proceedings resulted in various prison sentences, bans and fines for the culprits plus a more cautious approach by the bookies regarding bets placed on individual Football League matches. There was though, to remain one final ironic twist to the saga. On Saturday 19th August 1972, following completion of a prison sentence and lengthy ban, Peter Swan took to the field for Sheffield Wednesday in a Division Two encounter with QPR at Loftus Road but it was not enough to stop us winning the game 4-2.

As for Richard Scott Beattie himself, ex-Celtic, Portsmouth and Peterborough keeper, he was jailed in 1965 which finished his playing career. He died in 1990 and presumably is now up there with that great fixed-odds coupon in the sky. Jimmy Gauld was convicted for instigating the scandal. He played for Waterford, Charlton, Everton, Plymouth, Swindon, St Johnstone and Mansfield before his career was ended by a broken leg. In 1964, he sold his story to the ‘Sunday People’ for ¬£7,000 incriminating the three Sheffield Wednesday players that he had enticed into the scheme. His taped conversations were used to convict them and himself. The judge made it clear that he held Gauld responsible for ruining the other three. He was fined ¬£5,000 and received four years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.

Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)

8 thoughts on “The Bribery Scandal

  1. It was a pity that I was not allowed to attend the PeterBoro’ fixture myself(Too far for a 13 year old boy to travel my father said! Grr!) otherwise folks I would have been able to give a more detailed match report and proper eyewitness account.

    If there is anyone out there who DID go to the game I would really like to have their comments.

    Bernard Lambert(Kerrins)

  2. Interesting.
    I was familiar with the involvement/imprisonment of Sheff Wed’s Tony Kay and Peter Swan, but not the Peterboro angle.)
    And as said, nice programme photo

    (The only ‘scandal’ I was aware re Peterborough was when they were deducted points/relegated some years later for some club payment issue which I don’t recall)

  3. Fascinating article by the way, wasn’t aware of this from our not so distant past.If this happened today, this website would be blamed by some divvies as usual.

  4. Colin.

    If Mrs Williams round at the Seven Stars Newsagents had paid more than Eight Shillings and Sixpence for a weekly paper round then Geoff Murrell and some of the other crowd from Kelmscott may have been able to afford to attend the game!

    I’m still searching for an eye witness…Anyone out there who was at that P’boro’ QPR Fixture?

  5. Moreno that programme was on sale on E BAY recently…but I understand that a certain Mr Steve Russell made them an offer they couldn’t refuse! lol

  6. Hi Bernard

    Currently writing a book about Plymouth 1958-59 which includes a biog of each player Рincluding Gauld! He went to the appeal court later and got the £5k costs reduced to £380!!!
    Any chance of me using a b&w pic of that programme in my book to support the text?


  7. Steve..I have no objections.

    By the way if you are writing a Book about Plymouth 58/59 dont forget to mention that R’s 2-1 win in the Xmas fixture at loftus Rd!

    That day the White shirts of the R’s were superior to the Green Shirts of Argyle!…I seem to recall Arthur Longbottom running through from about the halfway line and scoring.

    Another exciting match viewed from the boys Pen…big crowd that day too

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